The Gold Coast of Costa Rica encompasses an area of beaches and towns along the Pacific Ocean. Once sleepy fishing villages, these towns have developed into international lifestyle destinations with high-end gated communities featuring single-family homes as well as more affordable condos with modern amenities. The Gold Coast Costa Rica offers spectacular beaches, world-class surfing, championship golf, sport fishing, cowboy rodeos, and other amazing recreational activities. With all this and a variety of bilingual K-12 educational opportunities, it is no surprise why more and more families and retirees are vacationing here and also calling the area home.
The access to this beautiful part of the world is due to the Liberia International Airport which is serviced by Southwest, Delta, American, WestJet, United, Air Canada, and a few other airlines. Included in the “Papagayo region” are the beach villages of Playa Hermosa, Playa Panama, and Ocotal. Playas del Coco has a beautiful boardwalk and pier and is the gateway to world famous surf spots “Witch’s Rock” and “Ollie’s Point”. Each day small fishing boats called “pangas” shuttle surfers from around the world to these incredible surf destinations, which are only accessible by boat. If you drive twenty minutes south from Coco you will find Guanacaste’s largest hotel, the Hotel Riu Guanacaste, on secluded Playa Matapalo.
The adventurous can drive the Monkey Trail down to Playas Potrero and Flamingo, just make sure you have a 4X4 and it hasn’t been raining too much. You can also take the more scenic route through sugarcane fields and typical Costa Rican towns. Potrero is home to large North American and Italian expatriate communities, several beaches, and coves perfect for fishing and stand-up paddleboarding. Las Catalinas, a community that showcases “New Urbanism” architecture, is a beachfront town with homes for sale and ocean-view lots. The town also has a few dining options, including Sentido Norte, an upscale restaurant with a spectacular view and a shop that rents paddleboards and mountain bikes to ride its extensive trail network.
Flamingo is perhaps the oldest and most established small luxury enclave in Costa Rica. It has a marina village, white sand beach, and luxury homes that are sprinkled upon its two prominent headlands. Flamingo is quiet and relaxed, except for its annual New Year’s Eve celebration and Mardi Gras festival which draw large crowds of revelers. The adjoining village of Brasilito is best known as the home of Reserva Conchal, a gated community with a Robert Trent Jones II golf course and large beach club facility. Considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica, Conchal’s many townhomes and golf residences are a short golf cart ride from the beach.
Moving further south along the Gold Coast, Playa Grande is a low-key community within the Las Baulas National Park and flanked on the south side by an estuary that separates it from Tamarindo. This sleepy section of the Gold Coast offers pockets of large and small homes accessible to a small selection of homey restaurants like Kike’s Place, surf shops, and some of the most consistent, and fun, waves in the area.
Tamarindo is a vibrant small town and international melting pot with boutiques and fine dining, supermarkets, medical services, banks, and a commuter airport. Luxury ocean-view homes dot the hillsides while smaller condominiums are across the street from the beach. Langosta, only accessible through Tamarindo, is a high-end residential neighborhood with its own beautiful beach, secure mid-rise condominium developments, and an enclave of a dozen mansions lining their own section of beach. Many people enjoy the Langosta Beach Club with its French restaurant, pool, and fitness facilities. On the other end of town, Pangas Beach Club and Witch’s Rock Surf Camp are popular beachfront establishments offering high-end dining and craft beers on tap, respectively.
Tamarindo is a vibrant small town and international melting pot with boutiques and fine dining, supermarkets, medical services, banks, and a commuter airport.
Directly south of Tamarindo is Hacienda Pinilla, a 4500-acre seaside ranch with five beaches, golf, tennis and equestrian facilities. A five-star JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa is the centerpiece of the resort, which offers luxurious lots, homes, and condominiums for sale, but still retains its rich and rugged ranch heritage.
A short walk from the beach club is the world famous Lola’s Restaurant on Playa Avellana with feet-in-the-sand service, great food, cold beer, and world-class surfing. Lola, their resident 700-pound pig may just be lounging next to your table. Other great little beach communities south of Tamarindo include Playa Negra, Junquillal, Marbella, Nosara, and Samara.
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